The Complete Fairy Tales & Other Stories
By Hans Christian Andersen - online book

Oxford Complete Illustrated Edition all his stories written between 1835 and 1872.

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642                     THE WICKED PRINCE
took refuge behind the still smoking walls of her burned house ; and the soldiers sought for her, and if they found her, it was new food for their demoniac fury : evil spirits could not have raged worse than did these soldiers'; but the Prince thought their deeds were right, and that it must be so. Every day his power increased ; his name was feared by all, and fortune accompanied him in all his actions. From conquered towns he brought vast treasures home, and in his capital was heaped an amount of wealth unequalled in any other place. And he caused gorgeous palaces, churches, and halls to be built, and every one who saw all this grandeur, said, ' What a great Prince ! ' They thought not of the misery he had brought upon other lands ; they heard not all the sighs and all the moanings that arose from among the demolished towns.
The Prince looked upon his gold, and upon his mighty buildings, and his thoughts were like those of the crowd.
' What a great Prince ! But, I must have more, far more ! No power may be equal to mine, much less exceed it!'
And he made war upon all his neighbours, and overcame them all. The conquered Kings he caused to be bound with fetters of gold to his chariot when he drove through the streets of his capital; when he banqueted, those Kings were compelled to kneel at his feet, and at the feet of his courtiers, and receive the broken pieces which were thrown to them from the table.
At last the Prince caused his own statue to be set up in the open squares and in the royal palaces, and he even wished to place it in the churches before the altars ; but the priests said,
1 Prince, thou art mighty, but Heaven is mightier, and we dare not do. it.'
' Good : then,' said the Prince, ' I will vanquish Heaven likewise.'
And in his pride and impious haughtiness he caused an ingenious ship to be built, in which he could sail through the air : it was gay to behold, like the tail of a peacock, and seemed to be studded with thousands of eyes ; but each eye was the muzzle of a gun. The Prince sat in the midst of the ship, and needed only to press on a spring, and